Philip Roth - Newark Public Library

Philip Roth

March 19 – August 31, 2013

James Lewis, Curator | Rosemary Steinbaum, Guest Curator
Main Library, Second Floor Gallery

Printable Flyer | Press Release

Philip Roth: An Exhibit of Photos from a Lifetime includes materials from the personal collection of Philip Roth and from the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center at the Newark Public Library. The exhibit is presented in celebration of Philip Roth’s 80th birthday, March 19, 2013.

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Philip Roth: Photos from a Lifetime, a 36-page catalog based on the exhibit. $15.00.
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Philip Roth was born at Beth Israel Hospital in the Weequahic section of Newark on March 19, 1933. Now 80 years later, the Newark Public Library is celebrating the critically acclaimed author’s life with an exhibition of his personal photographs.

Roth Family, 1920s Roth’s paternal grandparents (on the right) and their relatives in the 1920s.

This exhibit is comprised of photographs from Roth’s personal collections, most never before seen by the public. Selected and captioned by Roth himself, the photographs tell the story of his life; from his youth in Newark to contemporary times; with images of his family, his friends from the Weequahic community, and his writer colleagues. Rosemary Steinbaum carefully selected passages from Roth’s books that complement the photographs and captions.

Roth Family, 1935
Mother and son enjoying the
summer sun on the beach
at Belmar in 1935.

The Newark Public Library has enjoyed a long and close relationship with Roth. As a student, he used the Weequahic Branch Library on Osborne Terrace. Goodbye, Columbus, his first published book, featured the Library prominently. In 1991, John Cunningham, as President of the Friends of the Newark Public Library, invited Mr. Roth to give the first John Cotton Dana Lecture here. Charles Cummings, the Library’s Assistant Director of the New Jersey Information Center and City Historian, became friends with Roth and often supplied him with information about Newark’s history. Now we are proud to continue this relationship as the Library has been entrusted with Roth’s private photographs for this exhibition.

Roth Family, 1937
This photograph of Herman,
Sandy, and Philip at Bradley
Beach in 1937 was on the front
cover of Patrimony.

It has been an honor and privilege to spend time with Mr. Roth in preparation for this exhibit. I thank him for the generous access to his personal photograph collection, for his time, and for his impressive body of work, especially the books set in Newark.

Roth Family, 1942
A family portrait, 1942. From left to right: Bess, Philip, Herman and Sandy.

I would also like to thank Rosemary Steinbaum for her expertise and assistance; Liz Del Tufo, President of The Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee; Ira Nadel; and the Philip Roth Society.


James Lewis, Curator
Librarian, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center,
The Newark Public Library